Late Holocene air temperature variability reconstructed from the sediments of Laguna Escondida, Patagonia, Chile (45 degrees 30 ' S)

Elbert, Julie; Wartenburger, Richard; von Gunten, Lucien; Urrutia, Roberto; Fischer, Daniela; Fujak, Marian; Hamann, Yvonne; Greber, Nicolas; Grosjean, Martin (2013). Late Holocene air temperature variability reconstructed from the sediments of Laguna Escondida, Patagonia, Chile (45 degrees 30 ' S). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 369, pp. 482-492. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.11.013

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Climate and environmental reconstructions from natural archives are important for the interpretation of current climatic change. Few quantitative high-resolution reconstructions exist for South America which is the only land mass extending from the tropics to the southern high latitudes at 56°S. We analyzed sediment cores from two adjacent lakes in Northern Chilean Patagonia, Lago Castor (45°36′S, 71°47′W) and Laguna Escondida (45°31′S, 71°49′W). Radiometric dating (210Pb, 137Cs, 14C-AMS) suggests that the cores reach back to c. 900 BC (Laguna Escondida) and c. 1900 BC (Lago Castor). Both lakes show similarities and reproducibility in sedimentation rate changes and tephra layer deposition. We found eight macroscopic tephras (0.2–5.5 cm thick) dated at 1950 BC, 1700 BC, at 300 BC, 50 BC, 90 AD, 160 AD, 400 AD and at 900 AD. These can be used as regional time-synchronous stratigraphic markers. The two thickest tephras represent known well-dated explosive eruptions of Hudson volcano around 1950 and 300 BC. Biogenic silica flux revealed in both lakes a climate signal and correlation with annual temperature reanalysis data (calibration 1900–2006 AD; Lago Castor r = 0.37; Laguna Escondida r = 0.42, seven years filtered data). We used a linear inverse regression plus scaling model for calibration and leave-one-out cross-validation (RMSEv = 0.56 °C) to reconstruct sub decadal-scale temperature variability for Laguna Escondida back to AD 400. The lower part of the core from Laguna Escondida prior to AD 400 and the core of Lago Castor are strongly influenced by primary and secondary tephras and, therefore, not used for the temperature reconstruction. The temperature reconstruction from Laguna Escondida shows cold conditions in the 5th century (relative to the 20th century mean), warmer temperatures from AD 600 to AD 1150 and colder temperatures from AD 1200 to AD 1450. From AD 1450 to AD 1700 our reconstruction shows a period with stronger variability and on average higher values than the 20th century mean. Until AD 1900 the temperature values decrease but stay slightly above the 20th century mean. Most of the centennial-scale features are reproduced in the few other natural climate archives in the region. The early onset of cool conditions from c. AD 1200 onward seems to be confirmed for this region.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Paleolimnology
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > PAGES Past Global Changes

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Elbert, Julie, Wartenburger, Richard, von Gunten, Lucien, Fischer, Daniela, Greber, Nicolas, Grosjean, Martin


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:42

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:13

Publisher DOI:


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URI: (FactScience: 224933)

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